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NASA's Lucy probe: The second solar complex must be fully unfolded

NASA’s Lucy probe: The second solar complex must be fully unfolded

More than half a year after the launch of NASA’s Lucy probe, the US space agency launched another attempt to fully unravel the second solar panel. NASA explains that four times since the beginning of May, officials have made the engines pull particularly hard on the tape that is supposed to help open it. The data sent by the device may show that the solar panel voltage is slowly increasing. Now there are plenty of other opportunities for further attempts to bring the complex to its planned location. Extensive ground testing preceded the streamlining process, which now included both main and standby engines.

The Lucy probe, named after an important fossil of the human ancestor Australopithecus afarensis, was launched on October 16. During their 12-year mission, they will primarily research what is called Jupiter Trojan. These are asteroids steadily revolving around the sun in the orbit of Jupiter in two large groups – one in front of the gas giant planet, and one behind it. Primordial celestial bodies are fossils of planetary formation, which NASA hopes to gain new insights into. Lucy is the first ever mission to be sent to asteroids, seven of which will be visited. In addition, Lucy must also pass the asteroid Donaldjohansson in the main belt between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It is named after the discoverer of the fossil “Lucy”.

The probe gets its power from two large solar collectors, which are supposed to supply enough electricity to power the probe and scientific instruments even when they are far from the sun – in Jupiter’s orbit. After boot you were supposed to completely expose them, but this did not work. Initial tests showed that one was only stretched by 75 to 95 percent. Until it snaps into place, it is held in place by a tape that is supposed to help open it. NASA confirms nowPreliminary data indicate that the additional effort that has already been made can be sufficient to continue the mission as planned.


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